Jay Patel argued that “leveraging” the technology that already exists in community pharmacy, and giving pharmacists more say in the design of new systems, would help to “smooth the flow of information” between the sector and general practice.
This would make NHS England's £112 million investment in GP pharmacists unnecessary, he said.
Mr Patel was speaking during a presentation of his views on the future of community pharmacy at the Avicenna conference in Vietnam last week (October 24).
“If community pharmacy and general practice can work better in their current locations, there’s no need to have a drastic option [of relocating community pharmacists],” he told delegates. “That seems to me to be a draconian measure,” he said, adding: “there are other things we can do [instead].”
The other options Mr Patel argued for were Healthy Living Accreditation for pharmacies, which he said had “improved the quality and volume” of Day Lewis’ services, and means “it’s hard for doctors to see [pharmacies] negatively”.
Mr Patel also argued for more use of the technology that already exists in the sector, such as the Summary Care Record, electronic repeat dispensing, and a “connected” patient medication record.
“It’s quite an extreme decision to relocate community pharmacists,” he said. “We can use connected technology and leverage the existing infrastructure – this would smooth the flow of information between GPs and pharmacists.”
Better technology "within a year"
However he argued community pharmacists must be given “a seat at the table” when the systems that will be used in the sector are being designed.
“I believe that in the next six to 12 months there will be more and better tools to do our job.”
“Using technology means you can make your business more stable and provide an alternative to the more extreme scenarios that are mooted for the future of community pharmacy,” he added.